Reddit's extraordinary Super Bowl ad stuns viewers

When it comes to TV advertising, Super Bowl spots are possibly the most coveted around – not to mention the most expensive. Reddit claims to have blown its entire marketing budget on a spot this year – and at just five seconds long, it's the shortest Super Bowl ad in history. 

The text-based ad (below) began with the words "Wow, this actually worked," before advertising Reddit as a place where powerful things happen – including a direct reference to the website's stock market shenanigans last week (more on that below). Like many of our best print ads, Reddit's blink-and-you'll-miss-it TV spot has certainly got people talking.

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"Big game spots are expensive, so we couldn't buy a full one," the ad reads. "But we were inspired and decided to spend our entire marketing budget on 5 seconds of airtime." According to Variety, a 30-second ad cost $5.5M, which suggests Reddit's ad could have set it back $915,000. Using the power of maths, we've calculated that to be a cost of $183,000 per second. Told you Super Bowl ads weren't cheap.

As for the point of the ad, it seems Reddit was keen to capitalise on its recent moment in the spotlight, brought about by the GameStop situation. In case you've been living under a rock, this saw a Reddit-based army of amateur investors seriously disrupt Wall Street by driving up the price of the video game store's shares last week.

Reddit's unconventional Super Bowl ad (Image credit: Reddit)

"One thing we learned last week is that underdogs can accomplish just about anything when they come together around a common idea," the ad gushed. "Powerful things happen when people rally around something they really care about. And there's a place for that. It's called Reddit."

The cheeky ad was certainly a hit online, with many users taking to Twitter (below) to declare it the best Super Bowl ad of all time, while others checked they hadn't hallucinated it entirely. Indeed, Reddit's ad cleverly starts with a moment of car footage before cutting to the text, heightening the sense that the 5-second spot could even be a glitch.

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We're impressed with the gumption of Reddit's ad. Asking viewers to hit the pause button is a bold move, and it just shows that it doesn't always take 30 seconds or indeed $5.5M to make an impact – sometimes a mere $915,000 is enough.

From Doc Morris's brilliant festive tearjerker to Childline's delightfully animated campaign, we've seen some brilliant TV ads in recent months. We're fans of Reddit's five-second wonder, which manages to be bold and irreverent without crossing over into tasteless territory – something that certainly can't be said for Ryanair's latest ad.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.